Following the killing of a sixth-grade girl in Sasebo by her classmate, some TV networks postponed the airing of mystery dramas when reports circulated that the suspect may have gotten ideas for her chosen method of killing from a mystery she’d seen on TV. Eleven-year-old girls are not the target audience for these dramas. Most are aimed at middle-aged women, which is why so many feature female detectives and are set in hot-spring resorts and popular sightseeing areas.
On this week’s “Monday Mystery” (TBS, 9 p.m.), Ryoko Sakaguchi plays Kikuchio, a former Tokyo geisha who is hired by the owner of a posh inn in Iseshima to be the inn’s okami, or female manager. As an outsider suddenly called in to act as mistress, Kikuchio finds the help decidedly resistant. They do what they can to discourage her and drive her back to Tokyo. One day, however, a handsome travel agent named Noguchi comes to the inn. He is dating the owner’s daughter, who is overseas on business, and the owner is quite determined to see that the two get married, but then something dreadful happens
A hot spring also figures prominently in this week’s “Women and Love and Mystery” (TV Tokyo, Wednesday, 8:54 p.m.). Rino Katase plays Tomoko Sakiyama, a police profiler. While taking a much deserved rest in Nasu, Sakiyama stumbles upon a dead body in the bath of her hotel. The man has been killed with an expertly executed single stab to the carotid artery and, using the man’s blood, the killer has written the character for “dog” on the wall.
Sakiyama learns that two similar killings recently occurred in Tokyo, so she returns to the capital and helps with the investigations. However, her profiles of the individual criminals in all three cases reveal no similarities whatsoever. She’s stumped, until a fourth murder occurs.
Enka superstar Yoshimi Tendo essentially plays herself in this week’s “Friday Entertainment” (Fuji TV, 9 p.m.). Tendo is Kozue, an enka singer who is performing at a hot-spring resort in Oita when an A&R representative from her record company shows up and tells her that the company is being restructured and Kozue’s contract is not being renewed.
Shortly thereafter, the A&R guy is out on a date with his mistress and is fatally poisoned. The police suspect Kozue. The singer and her manager, Ken (Eisaku Yoshida), flee and start tracking down the killer themselves. Along the way, they take a lot of baths and eat a lot of gorgeous meals. No sense letting a steamy hot spring location go to waste.